Lady Lucy Houston DBE

Aviation Champion and Mother of the Spitfire

Miles Macnair

* Here we have the compelling biography of Lady Lucy Houston DBE, campaigner for women's rights, ardent champion of Winston Churchill and devoted Royal Air Force patron.

* She possessed massive foresight, funding both the 1931 Schneider Trophy Race and the Houston Everest Expedition of 1933, and thus kick-starting the consequential development of
Date Published :
September 2016
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
40 illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781473879362
Pages : 264
Dimensions : 9.5 X 6.5 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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The life-story of Lady Lucy Houston DBE must surely be one of the most romantic and dramatic epics of the last one hundred and fifty years, yet nowadays she is a woman unknown. She was a renowned beauty with a sharp intelligence, and over the years she would exploit her charismatic charm, first as a teenager to entice a wealthy lover, and subsequently to lead three husbands to the altar.

She was an ardent and productive campaigner for women’s rights, conducting outstanding works of charity during the Great War, such as providing a convalescent home for nurses returning from the front line. In recognition of these endeavors, she was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1917. After the death of her third husband, a known misogynist, ‘under mysterious circumstances’, she was temporarily certified mad, but his Will was to make her the richest woman in England.

During the rest of her eventful and eccentric lifetime, she spent her fortune on a vast number of charitable causes, whilst waging a feisty political campaign against weak British politicians of all parties. As a great admirer of how Mussolini had restored Italy’s patriotic self-esteem, she championed men like Winston Churchill as the future savior of her own beloved country. But her greatest legacy arose from her steadfast support for the Royal Air Force, whose finances were being crippled. She funded the 1931 Schneider Trophy Race as well as the Houston-Mount Everest Expedition of 1933. This funding had a crucial bearing on the development of the Merlin engine and the Spitfire aircraft, essentially kick starting the chain of events that would ultimately end in allied victory during the Battle of Britain. She died before the cataclysmic war that she so accurately predicted however, her death being precipitated by an infatuation with Edward, Prince of Wales.

In spite of her many eccentricities, the enchanting, infuriating, inspiring and endlessly controversial Lucy Houston deserves to be remembered as a very patriotic lady indeed.

About The Author

Miles Macnair took an honours degree at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he also flew as a Pilot Officer in the RAFVR. After twelve years in industry he joined a stock-broking partnership, retiring in 2000 to devote more time to writing, lecturing, golf, travel and photography. He is married with one daughter and two grandchildren. Previously published historical biographies include William James: the man who discovered George Stephenson (2007), Olive, Princess of Cumberland (1772-1834): A Royal Scandal (2011) and Indigo & Opium (2013)


"...fascinating account of the life of someone who would have made all the front pages in the tabloids had they been around at the time, and yet, at the present time, she remains largely forgotten. Biography buffs will find this particularly interesting."

- Books Monthly

"The author has undertaken extensive research on his subject and has produced a well-written and very readable biography of a remarkable woman."

- NZ Crown Mines

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